Three West African countries, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger on Sunday, January 28, 2024, announced their decision to break away from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with immediate effect.
These countries are currently led by militaries that seized power from civilian leaders.
“After 49 years, the valiant peoples of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger regretfully and with great disappointment observe that the (ECOWAS) organization has drifted from the ideals of its founding fathers and the spirit of Pan-Africanism,” the countries said in a joint statement issued on Sunday, January 28, 2024.
The three countries were earlier suspended from ECOWAS following the coups and refusal to adhere to a directive from the regional body to return to civilian rule.
“Indeed, the organization has not provided assistance to our States in the context of our existential fight against terrorism and insecurity; worse, when these States decided to take their destiny into their own hands, it adopted an irrational and unacceptable posture by imposing illegal, illegitimate, inhumane and irresponsible sanctions in violation of its own texts; all things which have further weakened populations
already bruised by years of violence imposed by instrumentalized and remote-controlled terrorist hordes.”
Video: Statement by Mali’s Government Spokesperson Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga on television on the withdrawal of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso from the ECOWAS
Tension between Juntas and ECOWAS
At a summit in Nigeria’s capital Abuja in December, West African leaders demanded a “short” period of transition toward civilian rule in coup-hit Niger before they would ease economic sanctions on the country.
Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum was deposed in July 2023, and the junta said it would take three years to return to civilian rule.
In Mali’s case, civilian rule was last in place before the first of two coups, in August 2020. Burkina Faso’s elected government was ousted in 2022.
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